Bourbon BBQ Sauce

This Bourbon BBQ Sauce is the original BBQ Sauce that we have been using for over 15 years. It has a tangy flavor with a little sweetness. And there is a touch of smokiness, giving it a great BBQ flavor.

This sauce is perfect for slathering on ribs, chicken, pork butt, and even burgers. We also serve this sauce as a dipping sauce for non-BBQ-related foods like chicken strips.

Bourbon and Brown SugarWhen it comes to the bourbon used in the sauce, I like to use Maker’s Mark. You can use the bourbon of your choice.

We omit the liquid smoke when making this sauce on the smoker. Instead, we let the sauce simmer in the smoker and use real wood chunks to add a smoky flavor. Our favourites are apple wood or cherry wood. These two kinds of wood add good flavor to the sauce.

The quality of the ketchup used is important as well. We like to use thick ketchup like French’s since there are other liquids added that make the sauce thin, although it will thicken as it simmers. You want a thick end result.

If you like your BBQ sauce with a little heat, you can add hot sauce or finely diced hot peppers to the mixture while it simmers. This is our original recipe that was created when our kids were young so we didn’t add heat to it. Our youngest was not even born yet when we created this recipe. Now that the kids are all teens and young adults, we do add some heat. Usually, I will add finely diced jalapenos for heat.

Storing Bourbon BBQ Sauce

Bourbon BBQ Sauce can be stored in sealed mason jars for up to 6 months. When we make this sauce, it never lasts any longer than that. One batch of this sauce may last us the summer. We make it in April or May and usually run out by August depending on how well the weather cooperates. (We live in Canada, so BBQ season depends greatly on the weather.)

For a different flavour of BBQ sauce, check out Stacy’s Homemade BBQ Sauce

Bourbon BBQ Sauce

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes


  • 2 liters Ketchup
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • cup bourbon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp liquid smoke
  • 1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ground black pepper


  • Place all ingredients in a large, heavy bottomed pot, and stir to combine
  • Bring to a low boil over medium-high heat.
  • Reduce heat to low
  • Simmer for 1.5 hours, stirring often to avoid burning on the bottom, until thickened
  • Pour sauce into clean, sterilized mason jars while sauce is still hot, filling to 1/4 inch from top
  • Cap and seal jars, using water bath method, boiling for 15 minutes, making sure the jars stay covered by about 2 inches of water at all times
  • Let jars sit to cool after removing from the boiling water.
  • Check seals to make sure they haven't popped, and twist rings to make sure they are tight.
  • Store in a cool dark space for up to 6 months
  • Once a jar is opened, store in the fridge and use within 2 weeks

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